THE Philippine startup community targets to reach a total of 1,000 startups next year.
This was announced by StartupPH convenor Jojo Flores last Thursday, August 24 in a press conference during the 5th Geeks on a beach (Goab) conference at the Princesa Garden Island Resort and Spa Hotel in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, saying that the way to having a thriving startup ecosystem is through the numbers.
At present, Philippines only has a few startup players, 547 to be exact, according to the latest curated data from StartupPH, the country’s umbrella organization for all stakeholders and supporters of the startup and innovation communities.
“The more players, the better,” he said.
The country lags behind compared to other countries like Israel and Bangalore in India as these have over 20,000 startups.
Of the total number of startups in the Philippines, 320 have already been cross verified by the organization, 137 are subject for verification and 83 are non-operating as of August 2017.
Of the operational startups, Flores said that majority of the startups in the country are involved in e-commerce (56 percent), financial technology, software as a service and business solutions (55 percent), financial technology (48 percent), and consumer apps (40 percent).
Of the 320 startups, more than half do business to business (B2B) products and services.
“Despite having a lot of marketplace platforms, most startups have a B2B approach,” he said, adding that it is better than business to consumer models.
Barriers of growth
Flores presented that among those that dampen growth in the startup ecosystem are founders relationship with its people, funding, product scalability, infrastructure, talent, and lack of awareness among startups on government programs and support.
These barriers made Philippine startup ecosystem considered as still in its infancy as against to other economies like the Israel, United States (US), India, and Singapore.
He said that if the country produces more startups, also more chances of producing success stories and unicorns or technology businesses valued at $1 billion.
US-based investor, Aldo Carrascoso, emphasized that in winning the game, startups should not focus on how to become a unicorn, instead, on how to “create value” first.
“It’s not about getting the highest valuation, but creating the most value. If you create value, the valuation/dollars will follow,” Carrascoso said, who is the founder and chief executive officer of GlycoProX Biosciences, a firm based in California that combines next generation glycomics (carbohydrates), instrumentation and deep machine learning to augment cancer diagnosis and therapeutics.
“Fix a problem that affects a billion people. That’s what you aim for, rather than trying to be a billion-dollar company,” added US-based ClickSWITCH.com chief technology officer Yobie Benjamin.
Diane Eustaquio, Executive Director at IdeaSpace Foundation, Inc., for her part, said entrepreneurial mindset should be the focus to prepare the nation for innovation and digital change.
“We really believe that the entrepreneurial mindset is what we need to prepare our whole nation, especially to our young people. There’s more jobs as they say that will be lost to bots, and we need people, entrepreneurs who can adjust to disruptions and the more we have that in our culture, it’s better for the Philippines to adjust to changing times,” Eustaquio said.
Goab is an annual event for the Philippine startup community. On its 5th year, some 400 participants from the government and the private sector, including successful technology entrepreneurs from Southeast Asia and Silicon Valley, has gathered in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
For two days, participants got valuable insights from big names in the startup and technology community. Through keynote speeches, panels, and discussions with separate breakout tracks in between.
First staged in 2013, Goab is organized by TechTalks.ph, powered by Sym.ph, branding by Happy Garaje, and public relations by PRWorks. (ASP)